A domestic violence advocate provides assistance to people suffering from sexual and domestic violence. They assist them by promoting trust and communication between them and the State, as the cases pass through the criminal justice system. A domestic violence advocate is usually assigned a case load to handle, which he or she has to manage simultaneously. Talking to victims to provide them with the confidence to come out in the open is one of the main tasks of a domestic violence advocate.
To qualify working as a domestic violence advocate, one has to possess a degree in social or human services – or in another similar discipline. Working as a domestic violence advocate is quite an emotional rollercoaster ride, as you have to work with people who have gone through terrible times, the effects of which are likely to rub off on you as well. This is the prime reason that domestic violence advocates have to be exceptionally well-balanced where their emotions are concerned. If you are the type who takes everything to heart, this work may not be for you.
As far as physical requirements are concerned, you must be strong as there may be times when you have to intervene in crises situations that require this strength. If you feel that you are up for this kind of job, have a look at the list of duties pertinent to a domestic violence advocate’s position:
• Assume responsibility for the day to day operations of the domestic violence prosecution unit, with special focus on communicating case progress
• Formulate and implement procedures and recommend policies designed to enhance the efficacy of each program module
• Create a list of assigned victims, detailing their problems and write special notes to determine future actions
• Draw out reluctant victims and provide them with information on their rights and the resources available to them
• Engage victims in conversation to determine the full length of their ordeal, aimed at deciding appropriate plans
• Prepare the victim for court testimonies and accompany them to court, providing support throughout the trial
• Obtain full and complete statements from victims, along with medical release notes to provide necessary basis for prosecution
• Counsel victims to help them come to terms with their circumstances and to seek additional help
• Provide referrals to victims (security services and shelters), and assist them in obtaining both internal and external sources
• Oversee house security and document shelter happenings and victim activities for record purposes